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The Carpet People
by Terry Pratchett

Published: 2013-11-05
Hardcover : 304 pages
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In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . .

That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of ...

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Introduction

In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . .

That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet. The story of power-hungry mouls—and of two brothers who set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened.

It’s a story that will come to a terrible end—if someone doesn't do something about it. If everyone doesn’t do something about it . . .

First published in 1971, this hilarious and wise novel marked the debut of the phenomenal Sir Terry Pratchett. Years later, Sir Terry revised the work, and this special collectable edition includes the updated text, his original color and black-and-white illustrations, and an exclusive story—a forerunner to The Carpet People created by the seventeen-year-old nascent writer who would become one of the world's most beloved storytellers.

Editorial Review

Cory DoctorowTerry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett (left):

Sir Terry Pratchett's honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, two Printz Honors, and ALAâ??s Margaret A. Edwards Award. His books have sold more than eighty million copies. He lives in England.

Cory Doctorow (right):

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing (boingboing.net), which receives over three million visitors a month. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel Little Brother spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Cory Doctorow Interview with Author Sir Terry Pratchett

Cory Doctorow: The Carpet People was your first novel, and now the fortieth book in your Discworld series is about to be published. Do you think you could have kept us in the Carpet for anything like forty books?

Terry Pratchett: I was about to say, â??No,â?? but right now I wonder. . . . If the idea had taken, I donâ??t know. I really donâ??t. But how would it be? People in the Carpet are more or less tribal. What would happen if I . . . Youâ??ve got me thinking!

CD: You took a bunch of runs at building a world where a million stories could unfoldâ??The Carpet People, Truckers, and, finally, Discworld. Is Discworldâ??s near-total untethering from our world the secret of its staying power?

TP: It isnâ??t our world, but on the other hand it is very much like our world. Discworld takes something from this world all the time, shows you bits of the familiar world in new light by putting them into Discworld.

CD: You write a lot of feudal scenarios, but you also seem like a fellow with a lot of sympathy for (and suspicion of!) majority rule. The Carpet People is shot through with themes of who should rule and why. Where does legitimate authority spring from?

TP: The people! The only trouble is the people can be a bit stupidâ??I know that; Iâ??m one of the people, and Iâ??m quite stupid.

CD: What should the writerâ??s relationship with authority be?

TP: My personal view is that you look askance at authority. Authority must be challenged at every step. You challenge authority to keep it on its toes.

CD: The Carpet People concerns itself with many questions of infrastructure and public works. Now that weâ??ve arrived at a time of deep austerity, what do you think the future of infrastructure is?

TP: To crack and fall away, I sometimes think. From what I see around me, itâ??s people doing it for themselves. We know the government is there, but we know they have no real power to do anything but mess things up, so you do workarounds.

CD: Ultimately, it comes down to the builders, the wreckers, and the free spirits.

TP: Sometimes things need tearing downâ??and that might be, as it were, the gates of the city. But if we talk without metaphors, I would say that building is best. Because it is inherently useful. My dad was a mechanic; maybe it starts there.

One thing Iâ??ve always enjoyed about your books with feudal settings is that it seems you get something like the correct ratio of vassals to lords. So much of fantasy seems very top-heavy. Do you consciously think about political and economic considerations when youâ??re devising a world?

TP: Iâ??ve never been at home with lords and ladies, kings, and rubbish like that, because itâ??s not so much fun. Take a protagonist from the bottom of the heap and theyâ??ve got it all to play for. Whereas people in high places, all they can do is, well . . . I donâ??t know, actually: Iâ??ve never been that high. If you have the underdog in front of you, that means youâ??re going to have fun, because what the underdog is going to want to do is be the upper dog or be no dog at all.

CD: Damon Knight once told me that he thought that no matter how good a writer you are, you probably wonâ??t have anything much to say until youâ??re about twenty-six (I was twenty at the time). Youâ??ve written about collaborating with your younger self on the revised text of The Carpet People. Do you feel like seventeen-year-old Terry had much to say?

TP: Thatâ??s the best question youâ??ve asked all day! I think that he had a go at it, and it wasnâ??t bad, but that when I was younger I didnâ??t have the anger. It gives an outlook. And a place from which to stand. When you get out of the teens, well out of the teens, you begin to have some kind of understanding: youâ??ve met so many people, heard so many things, all the bits that growing up means. And out of that lot comes wisdomâ??it might not be very good wisdom to start with, but it will be a certain kind of wisdom. It leads to better books.

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  "The Carpet People, Terry Pratchett"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 12/13/13

This delightful story has just recently been rewritten by the author, almost forty years after he first produced parts of it for a column in his local newspaper. After reading this, no one w... (read more)

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